Frankie Merrifield and Correy Davidson among the goals as Bishop's Stortford beat Royston Town 3-0 in Emirates FA Cup, third qualifying round
Bishop's Stortford are one win away from a place in the first round proper of the Emirates FA Cup after beating Royston Town 3-0 at home on Wednesday night (October 14).
Frankie Merrifield scored twice and Correy Davidson came off the bench to claim his first goal of the season in the third qualifying round tie at the R & D Advisors UK Stadium.
And beating the Southern League, Premier Central side means the Blues are now eight games unbeaten at the start of the season.
After a frenetic start to the game with neither side able to keep possession, the first real chance came after a quarter of an hour for the hosts. Mark Haines' quick thinking from a free kick got Aaron Greene in behind the defence, but Archie Jones' shot was palmed away by Crows goalkeeper Joe Welch.
Steve Smith's men took the lead in the 28th minute when Darren Foxley's inswinging corner gave Merrifield one of the easiest goals of his career as he headed home from close range in space at the front post.
The Blues were keen to double their lead before the break, with Foxley chasing down Welch as he looked to clear and Ben Marlow testing the goalkeeper with a dangerous cross. And Foxley had a shot that took a huge deflection and almost found the top corner.
Greene made a fast start to the second half and could have had his third goal in as many games with a powerful effort from the left wing, but Welch was equal to it.
Merrifield had a shot blocked after being forced wide while Foxley had an effort cleared after being found by fellow winger Greene.
Merrifield then had a penalty claim waved away before, at the other end, Adam Murray headed over and saw his powerful volley brilliantly saved by Stortford shot-stopper Jack Giddens.
With good chances falling to the visitors it seemed key for the Blues to get a second goal, but it just wouldn't come as Greene shot wide from 10 yards after good play by Marlow before Marlow himself had a shot saved and Merrifield's rebound was blocked.
Murray had another chance to equalise at the other end, this time blazing over the bar from a right-wing cut back.
Substitute Josh Williams also threatened to level things up for the Crows as he broke through the middle, but Sam Mvemba showed his pace to make a great recovery and clear the danger.
With 75 minutes gone, the Blues did double their lead as Foxley picked out Merrifield in space at the back post and he slotted the ball through Welch's legs.
The away side almost pulled a goal back when Brandon Adams beat Giddens to the ball and somehow struck the post while lying on the touchline.
And the Blues sealed the win with the final attack of the night. Just two minutes after coming off the bench, Davidson ran onto Tom Richardson's through ball and, from a similar position to where Merrifield got his second, he hit the back of the net through Welch's legs again.
Blues: Giddens, Mvemba, Thomas, Robbins, Henshaw, Marlow, Merrifield (Richardson 83), Greene (Davidson 85), Jones (Baker 80), Foxley, Haines. Not used: Mullings, Brown.
Royston: Welch, Asafu-Adjaye, Bridges, Murray, Parr, Castiglione, Watkins (Williams 70), Edwards (Adams 56), Galliford (Rotimi 56), Brighton, Newton. Not used: Smart, Green, Newman.